Campbell County Rockpile Museum - Gillette

Apr 4, 2012

The Campbell County Rockpile Museum opened its doors to the public on July 21, 1974. Ralph A. Kintz was the driving force behind the establishment of the museum, purchasing the land where the famous rockpile sits and then donating this property to the county in 1970.

The Rockpile has been a landmark in Gillette for many years. The first four settlers in Gillette centered their claims in Rockpile Draw. Local folklore states that when travelers came from the west the Rockpile would let them know when they had arrived in Gillette. The Rockpile also was not far from the railhead of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad which arrived in Gillette in 1891. Ever since this time, the famous pile of rocks has been known by local citizens as the Rockpile.

Collections

The Rockpile Museum maintains collections of history, art, material culture, archaeology, and natural history. The geographic focus of the collection is the region which is now Campbell County, Wyoming. Due to the recent creation of Campbell County (1911), objects may fall outside of the current boundaries if they are deemed historically significant to this community, county, or region as a whole. The collection consists of any material relevant to the prehistoric, historic, and contemporary cultural history of the area.

The museum’s historical collections center on the area’s rural and agricultural roots. Much of the collection is used to illustrate the life of a homesteader or rancher in early twentieth century Wyoming. These objects include everything from kerosene stoves to rifles to sheep wagons. The museum also has a fine collection of objects related to the early history of urban life in Gillette including early office equipment, mercantile items, and objects from Gillette's earliest hotels. A growing segment of the Rockpile Museum collection is devoted to the energy production so vital to this area's economy. Objects related to the coal, gas, and oil industries can all be found in the museum. Some of the highlights of the collection can be found by using the link below entitled "Collections Highlights."

The Rockpile Museum also has a fine archeological collection as well as some anthropological artifacts and natural history specimens. The museum displays hundreds of Native American spearpoints and arrowheads collected for many years by two of the museum's greatest supporters, Ralph Kintz and Lew Barlow.

For more information, visit the Rockpile Museum website.